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Player Match Ratings: Villa stung by the Bees again!

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John

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Despite selling players like there is no tomorrow in the last two transfer windows and being second from bottom of the table both before and after this game our visitors have not tasted defeat in their last three games against us.

The Bees drew at Villa Park last season and did the same yesterday. This result has put as huge a dent in our confidence and has placed similar doubts upon our promotion prospects as had our 1-1 home draw against Brentford last September. 

We need to approach home games with a view to winning them rather than to not losing them. The onus is on us to crate chances and to put those chances away. Playing two forwards up front would be a good place to start. We were poor in the first half and were even worse in the second.

Whilst our overall performance yesterday was unacceptable the result was no less than our visitors deserved and they were clearly the better team. We were fortunate to end the game with a point. They may still be in the bottom three but they were very well organised, looked by some way the most likely of the two teams to break the deadlock and comfortably handled a team that are only three points and five places above them.

Brentford dictated the course of the game all too easily. They bossed the midfield, dealt comfortably with what little threat we produced up front and unlike us produced good scoring opportunities aplenty. They had a plan and we didn’t. They were well organised where we were not. We have the better squad on paper but it did not look like it on Saturday!

Steve Bruce admitted in his post-game interview with BBC Radio WM that we “didn’t play with the energy or the spark that was required”. He also admitted that he “should have done better and freshened us up”. He went on to add that “at 3 – 4 o’clock yesterday (Davis, Green and Onomah) weren’t going to play but wanted to play this morning, unfortunately all three of them have come off injured and looked jaded and tired”. I would have hoped that Hogan, Snodgrass and Lansbury had also wanted to play having had a less arduous week. He added looking forward to our next game, “We’ll be better than what we were today”. We will need to be!   

We dropped too many points at home last season and have now dropped 4 points from our first 3 home games of this new season. We gave ourselves too much ground to make up on the teams that ended up battling for promotion last season due to our early run of disappointing results. We are now 10 points behind leaders Cardiff, 8 points behind Leeds, 7 points behind Wolves and 4 points behind 6th placed Middlesbrough who we play next Tuesday. We are currently 18th in the league and have only 6 points from our first 6 games of the season. Our previous manager left when the club occupied 19th place having taken 10 points from the first 11 league games of last season and having been 10 points off the play-off places. Say no more!

The 2 points that we dropped yesterday need to be made up sooner rather than later. We cannot afford to be cut adrift as we were last season with too much ground to make up on the promotion contenders. The visit of Boro provides us with an early opportunity to make some amends. They won 3-0 at Bolton yesterday to take themselves into the last of the play-off positions. Given that, a draw might have just been acceptable before we drew our second home game of the season yesterday although we do really need to win home games against the clubs that we hope to be competing with for a promotion place at the end of this season. We now cannot afford to drop further home points against Boro. A defeat on Tuesday would take the gap between the two clubs up to 7 points after only 7 games but if we perform anything like we did yesterday it is hard to see us making up any ground on them.        

My player ratings from a game that gave us a stark and unpleasant reminder of how we fared last season are:

Sam Johnstone – 8 – MOTM – Quite simply we would have lost this game without him. Did very well to block a 57th minute Clarke shot with his right leg after the player had run into the box having been put clear. Parried and then held a Barbet free kick from the edge of the box on the hour mark. Did well to turn a 72nd minute Watkins shot past the far post and pushed a 76th minute shot from the edge of the box from the same player past his left-hand post.

James Bree – 6 – Did well enough at the back.               

James Chester - 6 – Wanted too long to bring an 85th minute Snodgrass cross that had flown above Hogan to him under control which allowed Bentley the chance to smother his eventual effort.    

John Terry – 6 – Made a 19th minute mistake that presented the ball to an opponent on the edge of the box but his blushes were spared when Whelan cleared the danger.       

Neil Taylor – 6 – Another steady defensive display.  

Ahmed Elmohamady – 4 – Did not make enough of an impression on the game. Headed a cross from Green well over on 52 minutes and had 79th minute appeal for a penalty rejected when Dalsgaard took the ball before he went down.

Josh Onomah – 6 – The best of our midfield by some distance yesterday before he left the field on the hour due to injury. Snatched at a nice 9th minute Green cross hitting the ball wide of the post.         

Glenn Whelan – 4 – Needed to try playing the ball forward instead of behind him more often.  

Conor Hourihane – 5 – Did not get forward often enough and would have benefited from having Lansbury alongside him in my opinion.        

Andre Green – 6 – Substituted on the hour due to a hamstring injury and he will be missed. Dropped too deep at times but he was not alone in that and he did play a couple of decent balls into the box.     

Keinan Davis– 6 – Held the ball up well when he had the opportunity to do so but he was left very isolated up front, short of service and played with no support alongside him. Hit a 21st minute shot from the edge of the box that went just wide of the post. Onomah found him well inside the box on 26 minutes but he sliced the ball into the side netting.            

Substitutes:

Robert Snodgrass – 6 – Replaced Green on 60 minutes and showed signs of good things to come from him in the future.   

Scott Hogan – 5 - Replaced Davis on 60 minutes. Made a good run inside the box and was found by a ball from Onomah on 67 minutes but his attempt to square the ball from close range but a tight angle was intercepted by Bentley’s left hand at the near post. He needs to start and to have another striker playing alongside him.   

Gabby Agbonlahor – 4 - Replaced the injured Onomah on 71 minutes. I could not help but think that the creativity of Lansbury or the running of Bjarnason would have been a better option. He made no noticeable positive impact upon the game.       

Up the Villa!

John Lewis


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We need to approach home games with a view to winning them rather than to not losing them. The onus is on us to crate chances and to put those chances away. Playing two forwards up front would be a good place to start.

Nailed it. I think everyone in the ground would have agreed, too, John. Well, except the manager, obviously. And even with one up front, surely the onus would be on the midfield to get close to the striker and to run past him?

Clueless, wasn't it.

Oh and wasn't it Chester rather than Terry who gifted the ball to Brentford?

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6 hours ago, blandy said:

Clueless, wasn't it.

Oh and wasn't it Chester rather than Terry who gifted the ball to Brentford?

It was indeed.

I thought it was Terry on the occasion that I was referring to (but I might be wrong). Chester did do something similar inside the box and Maupay then went on to get past him and Taylor before hitting his shot into the side netting.    

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  • Posts

    • Sounded like a moan to me. But well done on avoiding answering my post  
    • Ok but if we are talking about Villatalk then I think you might be confusing lowering expectations with what is deemed acceptable by fans. I don't think any fans are happy to accept playoffs. But we have to except that's as good as it wll get this season.  
    • I don't recall 'moaning' as you put it. I made a simple comment. If you want to read something else into it because it suits your agenda for wanting an argument with someone then fill your boots.
    • It depends what you mean by expectations doesn't it? I EXPECT us to finish in the playoffs. That doesn't mean I think it is acceptable At the start of the season I expected us to finish top 2 and that would have been acceptable.   So I've lowered my expectations based on our performance so far. Doesn't mean i've lowered what I think is acceptable.    So either you're moaning about people adjusting where they EXPECT us to finish, in which case you're moaning about people being realistic based on our performances. OR you're moaning that people have lowered what they deem to be an acceptable finish. In which case I think you've made these people up. I think you'll find plenty of people satisfied with promotion by any means necessary, but you won't find many, if any, who would say finishing in the playoffs isn't below their ORIGINAL expectations.
    • Why don't you read some posts and it will become evident to you that some people have lowered their expectations or have you just replied to my post to start an argument?
    • Well I could hardly say all people have lowered their expectations as not every Villa fan posts on Villatalk.
    • Who are these people you speak of? Or have you just made up a straw man to argue with?
    • Maybe it was. But you said some people have lowered their expectation. So are you telling me there are people that still expect top two?
    • It is. But we have our best striker injured long term. His replacement injured. Their backup still recovering from an injury. And HIS backup only just returning from injury. We still have enough quality in the squad to be scoring goals, no denying that. But  we won't spend the whole season with the lack of options we have now.
    • I don’t think many are expecting us to ‘dispatch close rivals with ease’. Scraped 1-0 victories would be acceptable. But losing 2-0, 2-0 & 3-0 to 3 of the 4 teams above us is poor, and then the other teams in the Top 7 that we've played we’ve drawn 1-1 with. Considering the resources we’ve had available to us, you would at least hope or expect that we’d give those teams a little more to think about. As it happens, I don’t think we have.   Maybe a better, more adaptable manager would have been able to make better use of the players that he inherited. McCormack has looked like a lost cause, to be fair to Bruce, but the rest of the squad is easily good enough to get us into a comfortable play-off place, if not 2nd.